The Gold Magnolias
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The Gold Magnolias

New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Band Blues Soul




"The Gold Magnolias - NEXT2SHRINE Blog"

Great Review of The Gold Magnolias - Next2Shrine

"Do the Dirty French Fry"

Our interview with Ron Bennington from Sirius Radio's The Ron and Fez Show - The Interrobang

"The Gold Magnolias Bring a Pulse Back to New York City"

The Gold Magnolias play funk, R&B, and rock like they have never heard of computerized music. The result is that human beings are dancing again.

The Gold Magnolias are bringing their southern sensibilities to the New
York City stages, and the result is music that sounds like it is played by human beings for human beings.

The audiences at The Shrine and Rockwood have started responding to this blend of funk, R&B and rock that features real guys playing real music, instead of processed, computer-generated beats and sounds.

The Songs

The songs are alternately fun, funny, sad, moving and danceable. The sound is live, raw and raucous. These guys throw in a little stage shtick, and even some audience sing-alongs. They teach their new dance, "The Dirty French Fry," and they sometimes jump down off the stage to dance with the audience.

They are something of an underground phenomenon, touring the club scene and gathering fans under radio's radar, but more and more often the audiences know the words and the dance moves.

Their original songs range from the fun, "The Dirty French Fry" to the simultaneously touching and danceable, "Rollin' Along." In between, they ask you to "Get Sweaty" and stay "Grounded." The latter song combines sage advice with witty lyrics that catch your attention even in the stage version with all the keyboard slamming and guitar strumming and saxophone wailing.

They throw in a cover or two, like Stevie Wonder's "Superstitious" just to remind you they know their roots.

The ten-song CD surprisingly captures their live sound, even though it is a studio recording. It sounds like they played all the parts at the same time and did a lot of the tracks in one take.


They are starting to branch out, with an appearance in Kansas City, but these southern boys have mostly explored a circle with its center in Brooklyn and its outer reaches in Harlem and Manhattan. They are decidedly low-tech and high-energy, and that seems to be appealing to audiences who just left their computer cubicles and need to remember what it feels like to interact with human beings.

You can't escape the impression that these guys care how you feel, and they spend a lot of effort making sure you feel something. The show is outgoing, and the music is raw. One listener said, "They seem more like old friends than a new band."

At times the music threatens to untether itself and go rampaging through the city, but somehow The Gold Magnolias keep it in hand and on stage. See them live, after a Lady Gaga concert, to remind yourself what music feels like when it's played by real human beings for real human beings. - Suite 101, Kevin Johnson


"The Gold Magnolias", 2011


The Southern Roots and Bed-Stuy Fruits of The Gold Magnolias: Southern Soul Band Hits the Stage at Louisiana Pig Roasts & NYC Ghetto Bars
When a couple of Southern musicians left Texas for New York City a couple of years ago, they opted for cheap rent in the mostly African American neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn. Little did they know that they would develop a whole new sound thanks to a chance meeting with Mr. Jimmy, an impeccably tailored 70-year-old bar owner who kept us well-supplied in cheap tequila and tales of womanly exploits; and a Leslie Hammond cabinet they found in the trash at the church next door.
The style The Gold Magnolias hit upon for this mostly Black audience—in a bar that had Swagga Mondays and Biker’s Night—was actually based on an old sound they grew up with (from Otis Redding to Al Green) and heard on radios around their new neighborhood. They call it Southern soul. And for this first “residency” at a club called Soul2Soul every Tuesday for six months, the Magnolias were paid with fried chicken and a bottle of Tortilla Gold tequila every week. Customers were patted down on their way in, women would grind against the band in a show of acceptance, and stabbings and shootings at the club were not uncommon.
“We performed on this tall high rise with a stripper pole,” remembers Evan Felts, one of two singers and the keyboard-player for the band. “The club was decorated with laser lights, mirrors, and black couches. We’d go outside, pass around the bottle, and dodge these huge rats. The tequila was awful, but the experience was pivotal. We had to learn some kind of crowd-pleasers. Playing every week for an audience as outsiders helped us hone our sound fast.” The music was out backstage pass to a world that would invite us in and unlock our soulful calling. Next, Mr. Jimmy introduced them to the owner of a club “even deeper into the hood.” St. Lucian’s Paradise catered to islanders who grew up listening to American Country music, thanks to radio broadcasts that made it in from the South. After the Magnolias’ weekly Thursday night shows there, the audience would take over with karaoke of old Country songs. There the band also got paid in chicken wings, but this time made by the Chinese restaurant next door. The club inspired the song “Grounded,” because the electrical outlets were unpredictable and shocked the band members regularly. “You got to stay grounded. You got to have a three prong. You gotta build your house on a firm foundation.” St. Lucian’s led to a regular gig at a more upscale Jamaican bar where they finally got paid with money.
Before reaching New York, the band’s guitarist and singer Hudson Mueller led a band called The Hudsons for seven years in Austin, Texas, where he was fully immersed in the singer-songwriter and folk music scene. “When I came to New York, I wanted to allow this place to take me in a new direction,” Hudson explains. “And that’s kind of what happened. You get off the train and there is a guy selling hats on the corner always blasting soul music. I went to school in East Austin, the ‘Black part of Austin.’ and have always had a great love for the blues. So, it felt natural to move into the ghetto and pick up this music.”
Co-singer Evan grew up in Tallulah, Louisiana, a predominantly Black town of 10,000 people, ten miles from the Mississippi River. “It was a very small Southern, very racially divided town. Railroad tracks and all. Regardless, as a result, I’ve always loved Black music,” Evan explains. When many of his serious musician friends were moving from Austin to New York, “it felt like Brooklyn was the next step in my career as a musician.”
The two singers easily slide back to their Southern roots for inspiration as well. Evan has been going to Pigfest in his hometown every year, where musicians gather around a pig roast. He recently brought Hudson for the first time. “There was this guy who immediately comes up to us and says, ‘Hi, I’m Possum. Try some of my moonshine!’” remembers Hudson. “And he pulls out this clear liquor and initiated us into the Pigfest scene.” After a couple of shots of moonshine, and moving on to the locally-fermented “muscadine wine” aka:”musky vine”. Made from wild grapes, another character comes up to Hudson and tells him he’s going to bring him out that night to kill an alligator. Hudson had to talk himself out of that invitation. The band returns to Pigfest this October.
“Southern Man” shows the gentlemanly side of the band, which they attribute to their Southern heritage. The song says “What you need is a Southern Man, someone to open doors someone to hold your hand...” Other songs show the band drawing on their spiritual faith, like in “Got to Believe,” a short and sweet driving blues they use to start their live sets and seal their commitment to each other as a band. And there’s “I Feel a Change,” which Evan wrote after a visit from his mother when he